Unit F – 2002 Comox Ave., Comox, BC V9M 3M6 250.890.7561

Shellfish, like all proteins, have a shelf life and require proper refrigeration. Take precautions with your shellfish – as you do meats, fish, eggs and poultry – to reduce the risk of food-borne illness.

General Handling

  • The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends the following shelf life for shellfish.
    • All cooked shellfish                 1-4 days (in containers)
    • Clams (fresh in shell)              2-3 days
    • Clams (fresh shucked)           1-2 days
    • Mussels (fresh in shell)         2-3 days
    • Mussels (fresh shucked)      1-2 days
    • Oysters (fresh in shell)          7-10 days
    • Oysters (fresh shucked)       5-7 days
    • Scallops (fresh shucked)       2-3 days
  • Do not eat clams, mussels or oysters in the shell that do not open when cooked.
  • Purchase shellfish from a reputable supplier.
  • Do not purchase (or consume) shellfish with strong or rotten odours.
  • Keep shellfish cold (less than 4°C). Use an ice pack and cooler to keep shellfish cold until it can be refrigerated. Refrigerate immediately after purchasing.

Live Shellfish

Live oysters, clams and mussels should close their shells when handled. Tap any open shells firmly a few times.  If the shell closes, the shellfish is still alive. Discard animals with broken shells or shells that do not close when tapped.

  • Keep live shellfish in an open container and chilled (0-4°C) at all times prior to consumption.
  • Do not place live shellfish in fresh water or a closed container. (The animals will suffocate and die.)
  • Store live shellfish on the lowest shelf in the refrigerator – covered with a damp towel.
  • Take precautions to ensure the juices or liquids from live shellfish do not leak onto other food items.

Fresh Shellfish (Shucked)

  • Store in a leak-proof bag or a sealed plastic or glass container.
  • Monitor the ‘best before’ date on containers of fresh shellfish.

Frozen Shellfish

  • Store frozen shellfish at -18°
  • Use store-frozen seafood within three to four months of the date it was frozen. (Commercially frozen shellfish can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.)
  • Thaw frozen shellfish in the refrigerator overnight or in cold water for approximately one hour. (If you use the microwave, use the defrost setting until the shellfish are softened but still icy.)
  • Follow cooking recommendations provided on shellfish packaging.
  • Monitor the ‘best before’ date on containers of frozen shellfish.

Source: BC Centre for Disease Control